How to Train a Dog Not to Jump – Everything You Need to Know!
by Jessi Larson
Learning how to train a dog not to jump is important when you get a new pup. After all, no one wants a dog jumping all over them.
This common behavior, which was once cute in a tiny puppy, can soon become a serious and even dangerous nuisance.
When our dog Toby was a puppy, he loved to jump up and paw at people. It was adorable then, but now that he’s a giant 115-lb dog, we absolutely have to make sure he doesn’t jump on us or our guests.
His behavior isn’t malicious. He just gets excited every now and then and hops up in the moment.
Still, it was important that we got this behavior under control. We’ll show you how to train a dog not to jump in this quick training guide.
Behavior Guide: How to Train a Dog Not to Jump
Almost any new dog owner will have to learn how to train a dog not to jump. For most dogs, jumping on people can cause scratches and bruises, but a large dog jumping up at a child or an elderly person can become a more serious problem.
So why do dogs like to jump on humans?
Well, this behavior stems from the fact that dogs like to interact face-to-face, or rather nose-to-nose, and would prefer to carry on that style of interaction with people as well. It just so happens, that our noses are out of reach, but at a jumping level.
In some dogs, jumping can become a real issue, but don’t worry, you’re actually more in control of this behavior than you may realize.
Read on to see just how to train a dog not to jump at you or anybody else.
Understanding the Source of the Behavior
Whenever your pup jumps up at you, whether it is to greet you after a long day away, to get to a favorite toy or to get at a snack you are holding, it’s because they think the jump will get them something they desire.
They want to get to you or the snack or toy, so they jump to get it, and if you don’t immediately challenge and de-incentivize this behavior, they’re getting exactly what they wanted out of the jump.
This reinforces the behavior and makes them more likely to repeat it in the future.
With that in mind, it’s actually your reaction to your dog’s jumping that’s feeding the behavior and will have to be the first thing to change if you want to see a difference in your dog.
So here are the steps to take in any situation where your pup decides to take a leap at you or anyone else.
The Basic Premise
No matter what the situation you’re in, there is a basic strategy to stopping your dog from jumping up at you or those around you.
The idea is to immediately shut down whatever outcome they are trying to cause with the jumping. That means disengaging – not pushing away or using force – and getting your dog further from their goal than they started.
Here is how that idea plays out in these common situations:
If Your Dog Jumps to Greet You
If you open the door and are met with a jumping dog, don’t come inside and don’t push your pup away. Just immediately close the door and wait about 30 seconds to open it again.
Repeat this process if your pup continues to jump up to greet you upon entrance and give a verbal cue of disappointment such as “no ” or “too bad.” Finally, when you are greeted with all four paws on the ground, you should come in and greet your dog.
If Your Dog Jumps up to Get a Toy or Food
If your dog jumps up in attempt to get a toy or piece of food from you, you should react in much the same way.
Instead of pushing away, simply turn around and disengage. Make sure you take away whatever object of desire your dog is going for so they’re not able to get to it.
Turn back around in a little while when your dog has calmed down and continue whatever you were doing. If your dog tries to jump up at you again, you can walk away and go to another room, shutting the door.
Come back and try again when your dog has mellowed out. Only present them with the toy or food when they are fully on the ground, whether it’s standing, sitting or laying down.
If Your Dog Jumps up to Greet a Guest
If you have a guest coming over, ask them in advance to help you in training your dog not to jump. Have them open the door, let themselves in and stand still while you approach with your dog on the leash.
Have your dog sit some distance away from your guest and ask your them to start approaching. Tell that person to stop any time your dog gets too excited and stands up.
From there, ask your dog to sit once again, and then let your visitor continue to approach.
Let your dog and your guest have a greeting when they reach one another, but only with all four paws on the ground.
If Your Dog Jumps up to Meet a Stranger
If you are out and about and happen to meet someone your dog wants to meet, you can ask that person to help you train your dog on proper greetings. Have the person stand still while you walk your dog towards them on a leash.
If your dog gets excited, bouncy or shows signs of wanting to jump, immediately stop and wait for your pup to settle down and sit.
When that happens, you can continue to approach your new acquaintance but only in a calm manner. Repeat the steps as many times as you need until you reach the person and are able to have a greeting with all four paws on the ground.
Final Thoughts on How to Train a Dog Not to Jump
When learning how to train a dog not to jump, it’s important to stay patient and refrain from using force or any form of punishment if your dog doesn’t perform to your expectations.
Just stay consistent and focus on taking away your dog’s incentive for jumping, whether it’s on you or other people.
Doing this important training will nip this problematic behavior in the bud and help prevent any potential accidents down the road. Stick to these strategies consistently and you’ll see a long-term change in your dog’s behavior.
Watch a Training Video
As you work on how to train a dog not to jump, sometimes it helps to see the process in real life.
Fortunately for us, dog trainer Zak George has put together a video on the topic. It’s another great resource on how to train a dog not to jump.
We love George’s positive, fun and informational training style. If you’re looking for additional support for your dog, his YouTube channel has plenty of great advice.
Bonus Training Tip
As you work on how to train a dog not to jump, you may get frustrated and short tempered at times. Don’t worry – that is totally normal. But it’s also something you should control.
Training a dog requires patience, persistence and consistency. If you feel like you’re getting discouraged, just take a time out. Pause, take a few deep breaths and count to 10.
By doing this, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to start again!
Dogs can sense if you’re hyper or angry, so taking a few moments to center yourself will make the training process much easier.
The goal is to continually and clearly communicate your expectations in a calm but confident manner. This sends a strong message to your dog about what you want them to do and how they need to act.
Top Dog Training Books
How to train a dog not to jump is just one small part of the overall training process.
To get a full picture of how to train a dog, we recommend you take a look at the following books. The more education you can get, the better!
When you train a new dog, it provides a solid foundation on how they should behave for the rest of their life. Hard work the beginning will make your life easier for years to come!
1. Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution
You saw George’s video on how to train a dog not to jump. If you liked this dog trainer’s style, he’s got even more great advice in his book Dog Training Revolution.
The book provides a wealth of useful tips, tricks, fun games and educational exercises.
We read the book The Art of Raising a Puppy when Toby was a puppy and highly recommend it!
Written by the Monks of New Skete, the book includes invaluable information and advice every dog owner should know. There’s a reason it’s a classic!
The book How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days teaches you infallible methods that will help housebreak your pup and make life so much easier for you.
House training a dog is exhausting, frustrating and messy. The sooner you can teach your dog these important skills, the better!
Dogs are super smart creatures, and teaching them new tricks is great for their mental and physical health.
We purchased 101 Dog Tricks for Toby a number of years ago. He had learned basic commands and we were looking for other ways to keep him mentally stimulated.
This book was a great way to find new tricks, provide mental and physical stimulation for Toby and bond with him in the process.
If you have children in your home, Puppy Training for Kids serves as a great introduction to caring for a dog.
Dogs are a big responsibility, and this book helps kids understand all the work involved with training and raising a puppy.
Our guide to how to train a dog not to jump is designed to help you understand why your dog is jumping and how to prevent this behavior in common situations.
With practice and repetition, you can nip this behavior in the bud!
Also, if you have a new dog and are looking for additional resources, don’t forget to check out our puppy guide. Happy training!